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  1. Teen from Randolph Autism School Wins State Art...

    May 24, 2016- "Teen from Randolph Autism School Wins State Art Contest"- Zachary Lortie, a 15-year-old with autism, has always had a knack for art, which is why it really wasn’t a big surprise when he won an art contest led by the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools. Zachary’s sketch of the Massachusetts State House earned him first prize. Zachary presented his framed artwork as part of an award ceremony to state Rep. Garrett Bradley, for his continued advocacy of students with special needs at the 38ths annual MAAPS conference. To make the moment even more special, Zachary’s mother, Monica Lortie, and his two older sisters attended to the conference, as well as more than 700 special education teachers.

    • May 26 2016 09:06 AM
    • by brian
  2. Tufts Health Plan Revises Autism Treatment Poli...

    February 17, 2016- "Tufts Health Plan Revises Autism Treatment Policies after Settlement"- Tufts Health Plan will revise its coverage policies and pay a $90,000 fine after settling allegations from the Massachusetts attorney general’s office that the health insurer restricted treatment for autism services. The prosecution argued that Tufts violated autism insurance, mental health parity, and consumer protection laws when it restricted access to ABA therapy. Tufts has since revised their policies to make ABA more accessible, by allowing treatment at daycares and preschools, and by removing a restriction that required a parent to be present at every appointment.  

    • Feb 19 2016 11:47 AM
    • by brian
  3. Student Pushes Bill on Autism Training

    February 9, 2016- "Student Pushes Bill on Autism Training"- Lydia Brown is a student at Northeastern Law School and is an advocate for individuals on the spectrum. Brown, who has autism herself, is the chairperson of a state council on disability and is urging the Massachusetts Legislature to pass bills on police and criminal justice training for working with people who have autism. The bills would institute police training on autism and other developmental disabilities to reduce harm to people interacting with law enforcement or prison staff. Police and corrections officers would learn basic information about autism and other disabilities and techniques to de-escalate conflict.

    • Feb 11 2016 11:15 AM
    • by brian
  4. Attention Deficit May Mask Autism, Delay Diagnosis

    October 26, 2015- "Attention Deficit May Mask Autism, Delay Diagnosis"-  According to a new study, ADHD may mask autism in children who have both conditions. Many of these children receive their autism diagnosis an average of four years later than those who have autism alone. Although the findings are based on parent reports as oppose to clinical diagnoses and do not prove that an earlier ADHD diagnosis is to blame for stalling the detection of autism in some children, the researchers say the data fit the hypothesis that ADHD overshadows autism in certain cases. This is critical because once a diagnosis of ADHD is made, clinicians focus on managing those symptoms, missing a crucial window of opportunity for early intervention since their autism is often diagnosed much later on average. The article goes on to discuss the similarity between the two conditions and some theories surrounding the data collected by researchers in this study.

    • Oct 27 2015 11:02 AM
    • by brian
  5. Analysis Makes Sense of Missense Mutations'...

    October 12, 2015- "Analysis Makes Sense of Missense Mutations' Role in Autism"- In a recent study, researchers analyzed thousands of sequences and homed in on miniscule portions of the genome that they say may be most crucial in determining autism risk. The analysis will allow researchers to sift through thousands of missense mutations, or those that alter a single amino acid in a protein, in people with autism. The article goes on to discuss how the research was conducted and its implication for autism.  

    • Oct 12 2015 09:14 AM
    • by brian
  6. UMass Medical School Finds Mealtime Behavior Pr...

    July 8, 2015- "UMass Medical School Finds Mealtime Behavior Problem in Children with Autism Stressful for Families"- After a study found that children with autism experience high food selectivity and more mealtime behavior problems, researchers recommend physicians and clinicians discuss mealtime habits of children with autism with parents. The study found children on the spectrum not only experience more mealtime problems, but parents report more spousal stress and more influence on what other family members ate. Researchers believe that proper intervention can help quell these mealtime stressors.

    • Jul 10 2015 12:24 PM
    • by brian
  7. Students with Autism Create Giant New Kids on t...

    June 24, 2015- "Students with Autism Create Giant New Kids on the Block Tribute"- To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Boston band, students with autism at the Joseph Lee School created an 8-foot tall mosaic created with 105,000 foam tiles featuring the faces of the New Kids on the Block. Chris Hall, the class teacher, says he has his students create these works of art to demonstrate what children on the autism spectrum are able to accomplish. Past projects have included portraits of President Obama, Rosa Parks, Ellen DeGeneres, David Ortiz, and former Mayor Thomas Meino.

    • Jun 30 2015 09:49 AM
    • by brian
  8. MGH Study Suggests Genetic Link in Autism

    June 11, 2015- "MGH Study Suggests Genetic Link in Autism"-  A leading autism expert is studying the strong genetic link in which he identifies a growing number of adults who share an autism diagnosis with their children. According to the researcher, about 250 of 1,000 children have at least one parent with a form of autism. The article concludes with reactions of adults first learning they are on the autism spectrum.

    • Jun 12 2015 08:54 AM
    • by brian
  9. New Study on Infants' Lip-Reading May Help...

    February 18, 2015- "New Study on Infants' Lip-Reading May Help Diagnose Autism Earlier"- A 2012 study found that babies learn to talk not solely by listening, but also by reading the lips of the people talking around them. It found that infants pay close attention to visual speech during stages where young children typically start to develop speech skills. This research set the foundation for a recent study that observed children who are learning two languages. When compared to children learning only one language, the bilingual children paid more attention to visual speech, or what is essentially lip reading, and for a longer time. Researchers believe this finding could help aid in the diagnosis of autism. Children who go on to develop autism generally avoid eye contact and tend not to look at the face of the people interacting with them. This can significantly diminish their opportunities to learn a language and develop speech, since this causes the children to be heavily reliant on listening alone to develop their speech skills.

    • Feb 19 2015 10:49 AM
    • by brian
  10. Tweak to Molecular Scissors Cuts Path to Turn o...

    January 26, 2015- "Tweak to Molecular Scissors Cuts Path to Turn on Genes"- A revolutionary technique allows scientists to turn on the expression of any gene, giving them unprecedented ability to explore the function of every gene in the human genome. The technique is a modified version of a method called CRISPR, which was used to allow researchers to edit, delete or insert mutation into, any gene they wanted. Researchers now have the ability to activate genes one at a time or simultaneously in large duplications and deletions of DNA linked to autism. For now, the technique is restricted to cultured cells, including neurons made from stem cells of people with autism, but researchers are trying to adapt it for use in animal models and, potentially, people.

    • Jan 26 2015 02:54 PM
    • by brian
  11. Empatica Develops Embrace, a Wearable Device fo...

    January 22, 2015- "Empatica Develops Embrace, a Wearable Device for Individuals with Autism"- Empatica is crowdfunding for a wearable device it developed that can track physiological stress, sleep, and physical activities, as well as emotional arousal. The real appeal of the device is that it can detect seizures on its onset for individuals with epilepsy. The wearable device also automatically informs caregivers when the patient is having seizures as soon as it begins. The company is currently seeking FDA clearance for the device and their Indiegogo funding campaign has reached nearly $400,000, about four times their original goal.

    • Jan 23 2015 10:20 AM
    • by brian
  12. Drug Abates Symptoms in Two Genetic Models of A...

    January 19, 2015- "Drug Abates Symptoms in Two Genetic Models of Autism"- Drugs developed to treat fragile X syndrome may also work for autism because both disorders feature defects at neuronal junctions, or synapses, according to recent research. Researchers showed that CTEP, a drug designed to target the defect in fragile X syndrome, alleviates cognitive problems in mice that model deletion of the autism-linked 16p11.2 chromosomal region.  Researchers believe this is good news because it shows that the same class of drugs can be used to treat shared common features of two different disorders. This is important for drug development because developing a drug for the potentially hundreds of forms of autism is unlikely.

    • Jan 19 2015 04:01 PM
    • by brian
  13. Massachusetts Will Limit Practice of Restraint...

    January 9, 2015- "Massachusetts Will Limit Practice of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools"- Massachusetts is one of a number of states that are putting new restrictions on the practice of restraining and seclusion in public schools. Starting this year, Massachusetts will no longer allow school staff to pin students face down on the floor, expect in rare circumstances when a doctor approves it for a specific student. Read more about the use of these techniques on children with autism and how you can prevent them from being used on your child in our recent blog.  

    • Jan 12 2015 03:19 PM
    • by brian
  14. Autistic Student's Video Inspires

    December 12, 2014- "Autistic Student's Video Inspires"- A video of 11-year-old Bobby Saldi singing “When Christmas Comes to Town” is quickly racking up the views on YouTube. Bobby, who has autism, has always enjoyed music, singing, and dancing, but has not always been able to perform in front of large crowds due to anxiety. See the video that has made Bobby admittedly so proud, as evident by the fact that he claims to watch himself on the internet every day.  

    • Dec 16 2014 09:48 AM
    • by brian
  15. Federal Agreement Supports Autism Services for...

    November 3, 2014- "Federal Agreement Supports Autism Services for Young Children"- An agreement between Massachusetts and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services means funding for early intervention services for children on the autism spectrum. The 1115 waiver is a sweeping five-year Medicaid agreement that brings $20 billion in federal money to Massachusetts in support of improved health care and delivery innovation, including autism services for young children. A portion of the funds with cover treatments for children on the autism spectrum from birth to age three who are enrolled in the state’s early intervention programs.  

    • Nov 05 2014 10:39 AM
    • by brian
  16. Study: Autism Therapy Produces Greatest Gains W...

    October 6, 2014- "Study: Autism Therapy Produces Greatest Gains When Started before Age 2"- In a new study, researchers at The New England Center for Children enrolled 83 toddlers diagnosed with autism in the school’s Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program. The program is based on the principles of ABA and was given to children between 1 and 3 years old at the time they began the therapy. After one year of intervention, testing showed gains in social communication skills across all age groups. These skills included shared attention with another person, interactive play, imitation and language. The study found that 11 of 12 participants made gains and that a much larger percentage of the youngest participants made significant gains in skills during the year of therapy.

    • Oct 07 2014 09:57 AM
    • by brian
  17. Mall Offers Sensory-Friendly Shopping for Autis...

    August 26, 2014- "Mall Offers Sensory-Friendly Shopping for Autistic Children"- It is once again time for back-to-school shopping for parents and children, but malls can be a difficult place for children who experience sensory issues. The crowds, noises, and lights can cause sensory overload for children with autism. This prompted Hope Tremblay to convince the Holyoke Mall to have stores shutoff their music and lower the lights in their store. While the night had its bumps in the roads, mostly from the large crowds that gathered to shop, a number of stores happily obliged with the sensory-friendly experiment and the mall insists that they will have stricter sensory-friendly events in the future.  

    • Aug 28 2014 11:21 AM
    • by brian
  18. Many Colleges are Seeing a Rise in Enrollment f...

    August 4, 2014- "Many Colleges are Seeing a Rise in Enrollment for Autistic Students"-  According to the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, there has been a significant uptick in the number of young adults with ASD attending college. To meet the increasing needs of individuals on the spectrum, many colleges have established programs that focus on individuals with autism being able to receive the tutoring they need, as well as workshops that focus on social skills. The programs also include ways to reduce anxiety and make the individual more comfortable. On average, these programs cost an additional $3,000 on top of tuition.

    • Aug 06 2014 10:07 AM
    • by brian
  19. Teen with Autism's Piano Talent Takes Him t...

    August 3, 2014- "Teen with Autism's Piano Talent Takes Him to New Heights"- When Ben Jenkins was diagnosed with autism the doctors told his family that he would likely be institutionalized later in life. His family, determined to prove the doctors wrong, enrolled Ben in full-time therapy at the age of 5 where he soon discovered his love for music, particularly the piano. Although Ben performed throughout high school at the Denver School of the Arts he had no intentions to go to college as his family had spent the entirety of his college fund on a lifetime of therapy. In April, Ben was accepted to the Berklee School of Music, but with no money to pay for the prestigious school, Ben started a summer concert series and released a CD as a fundraiser. Moved by Ben's effort and his touching story, Berklee School of Music decided to award Ben a four-year scholarship. Ben's story will soon be featured in a documentary detailing his life story and his first year at Berklee.

    • Aug 05 2014 09:54 AM
    • by brian
  20. Why This Startup Hires Employees With Autism

    July 27, 2014- "Why This Startup Hires Employees With Autism"- This article begins by introduces us readers to Mark Leslie, a man with Asperger's who until recently had listed six years at Barnes & Noble as his latest résumé entry, despite being a capable computer programmer who can speak four languages. Like so many adults on the autism spectrum, the social interaction and communication difficulties make a typical office environment a challenging workplace. Fortunately, startups like ULTRA Testing are accommodating individuals like Leslie and utilizing their unique talents and abilities. ULTRA Testing now has a team of ten testers who are all on the autism spectrum.

    • Jul 30 2014 12:58 PM
    • by brian
  21. Medical Records Find Evidence Linking Autism to...

    July 21, 2014- "Medical Records Find Evidence Linking Autism to Obesity"- According to a survey of nearly 3,000 individuals, at least one in every three children and adolescents with autism is overweight or obese. The report points to a need for diet and exercise programs that are tailored for people with autism. Children with autism are prone to being picky eaters, tend not to play sports, and often have mothers or fathers who are overweight. These factors can easily contribute to obesity.  

    • Jul 22 2014 09:58 AM
    • by brian
  22. Student with Asperger's Overcome Challenges...

    June 16, 2014- "Student with Asperger's Overcome Challenges to Attend Hopkinton Prom"- Lizzie Busby, an 18-year-old junior at Hopkinton High School, recently attended her first prom by herself after she couldn’t find anybody to go with. After Lizzie, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in middle school, got over the fear of going to prom by herself she said it was well worth it. Lizzie posted a picture of her and her prom story to social media and got overwhelming positive feedback from those who admired her courage.

    • Jun 19 2014 09:52 AM
    • by brian
  23. Town of Maynard Helps Teen with Autism go to th...

    May 16, 2014- "Town of Maynard Helps Teen with Autism go to the Prom"- A few months ago Esteban Barriga, who was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) at 2 ½, claimed he had no plans of going to prom because he didn’t have any friends. That was when he admitted that he would like to go to prom with Ellen DeGreneres, which sparked a campaign led by his Peer Buddy Bryan Kiley pleading Ellen to fulfill this boy’s wish. While they never did hear from the talk show host, Esteban’s teacher suggested he go with a fellow student named Brianna.  Esteban and his friends, including Bryan Kiley, recently attended prom together much to the delight of Esteban’s mother, Rueda.

    • May 19 2014 01:11 PM
    • by brian
  24. Athlete with Autism Adds Amazing Boston Maratho...

    April 22, 2014- "Athlete with Autism Adds Amazing Boston Marathon Finish to His ESPY"- Jason “J-Mac” McElwain, who was first thrust into the spotlight after his amazing high basketball performance popularized by ESPN, recently completed the Boston Marathon. McElwain, who is 25 and has autism, completed the feat in less than three hours in just his third marathon ever.  

    • Apr 25 2014 04:54 PM
    • by brian
  25. House Passes Autism Legislation

    April 17, 2014- "House Passes Autism Legislation"- The Massachusetts House of Representatives recently passed legislation that would encourage educators to develop teaching plans to allow children with autism to remain in regular classroom settings and enable families to save tax-free for the care of their loved ones. The House passed the legislation unanimously by a vote of 151-0. The bill will also enact a 34-member Autism Commission to make recommendations and monitor the implementation of policies impacting individuals with ASD.  Additionally, the commission will investigate a range of services and supports necessary for individuals to achieve full potential across their lifespan.

    • Apr 21 2014 01:38 PM
    • by brian